PRESENTATION – Daniel O’Sullivan – “I was hit so hard but I loved it”

by Daniel O’Sullivan The professional debut rightly has strange roots, a painful beating inflicted on him by Niall O’Connor.

The Dublin fighter officially joins the paid ranks when he trades leather at the Europa Hotel on June 25 – and instantly becomes a pro with one of the most unique stories in world boxing.

Forget the road less travelled, O’Sullivan forged his own path to the pros. Muhammad Ali caught his eye at the age of 16 and sparked an interest in the sport that took him on a not-so-traditional journey into the professional ring.

At 17 he was attending Celtic Warriors Gym and from there his interest turned into love before turning into obsession. Eventually, an addicted O’Sullivan became known within the big boxing family, first as the gym room man of choice for Spike O’Sullivan, Stephen Ormond and Luke Keeler at the time, before coaching Lynn Harvey and become a recognizable second Pascal Collins.

At this point, it looked like the now lightweight middleweight prospect would be Pascal Collin’s apprentice, and a coaching career awaiting him, but there was another very different twist in the game.

Having gained some experience over hours and hours in the gym, O’Sullivan had the chance to practice. Then, stepping in to trade practice leather with a pro, he took a beating, but in true saddo fashion, he enjoyed it so much he wanted more.

From then on, he set his sights on fighting and after a brief amateur stint that included an appearance in the Elite National Finals, he makes his debut on the Summer Brawl card later this month.

“I can’t remember exactly how, but when I was about 16 I had just watched a Muhammad Ali DVD and fell in love with him,” he told as he began his love affair with boxing.

“I had never watched boxing before that but I became obsessed with the whole Muhammad Ali thing. Naturally after that I started watching boxing but I was still watching all the old black and white stuff and then I became more and more obsessed with the sport I went to a local amateur gym in Meath when I was about 17 for a few but wasn’t very good just enjoyed the training,” he adds, before discussing how he has become as familiar with the Celtic Warrior gymnasium as the two brown leather sofas that greet you when you reach the top of the steep stairs and enter through the door.

“I went to Paschal when I was 17. I went up there on Saturday morning just to take the boxing class. Then all my school vacations I would stay in my nans, which is just around the corner from the gym, and I would stay there all day, just watch all the fights and try to copy Spike and Steve Ormond for that I was hitting the bags!

“I never really thought about fighting, I just loved the sport and being around it.”

O’Sullivan eventually progressed to holding pads for fighters he once tried to copy and worked their corners alongside Collins on some really big fight nights.

“I was always at the gym handing out towels to everyone from pros to novices and really enjoyed it,” he continues.

“But then I started doing pads with a few pros who weren’t Paschal fighters and not to be disrespectful, I realized their level was very poor. I figured I could do better. only that !

He then tried to outplay them in the fight ring and it led to an exchange that turned his love of boxing into a love of fighting.

“My first day with a pro was Niall O’Connor and I’ve never been so nervous or hit so hard in my life, but I loved it! Ever since I wanted to start fighting. Paschal m I was told to gain experience in the amateurs and in my first year I reached the intermediate finals and since then I wanted to turn pro.

His wish finally comes true on June 25 on the MHD-promoted Summer Brawl card and he’s prepared for his pro arc by fighting a fighter he once tried to copy on the bag, the recent “regular” world challenger of WBA Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan.

“I remember the first day I met Spike, I was actually starstruck. I had seen him on TV many times and now I fought him in preparation for my debut and his fight for the world title, I didn’t expect something like that!”